Guidelines for older adults recommend that you do at least two days of strength training each week and that you do 2 1/2 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise each week. Many people overlook muscle strengthening and rely on the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise.
A new study has shown that this would be a mistake. According to Dr. Bryant Webber, an epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strength training was more beneficial for older adults than aerobic exercise. He found that those who strength-trained two to six times per day lived longer than those who did not.
Webber stated in an email that “each type of exercise was independently associated with lower all-cause mortality risk in older adults.”
He stated that those who followed the muscle-strengthening guidelines only (versus neither) had a 10% lower chance of dying, while those who followed the aerobic guideline had only 24% less risk, while those who followed both guidelines had a 30% lower risk.
According to the study published in JAMA Network Open Monday, the results applied to all age groups, including the elderly.
The study showed that 85-year-olds who had met both the muscle-strengthening and aerobic guidelines had a 28% lower chance of dying from any cause than those over 85 who did not.
Webber stated, “This finding suggests the value of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise throughout life.”
The study examined leisure and other activities gathered from the National Health Interview Survey. This ongoing investigation into American health, conducted by the CDC, was the basis of the study. The data on strength training and aerobic exercise by age group were then compared to deaths over an average of eight years.
The study included demographics, marital status, body weight index, history of smoking or alcohol intake, as well as the presence of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
The study looked only at data regarding strength training and found that adults who exercised two to three times per week or four to six times per week were less likely to die from any cause than those who exercised less often.
The study showed that strength training was not beneficial for more people. It found that seven to 28 sessions per week of strength training did not provide additional protection.
According to the CDC, you don’t need to go to a gym to strengthen your muscles. You can lift weights at your home and use resistance bands to resist (for example push-ups or sit-ups) and also dig in the garden. Webber stated that even lifting canned goods could be considered a strengthening activity.
It is important to target all major muscle groups in the body: the abdomen, back, chest, and hips.
The study looked at only aerobic exercise data and found that a 10- to 300-minute weekly activity was associated with a lower death rate than a shorter workout.
Aerobic activities include biking, walking, cycling, hiking, pushing a mower, pushing a lawnmower, and other water exercises.